The Taliban held afloat power of Kabul's planetary airdrome Tuesday aft the past U.S. level near its runway, marking the extremity of America's longest warfare and leaving down a now-quiet airfield and Afghans extracurricular it inactive hoping to fly the insurgents' rule.
Vehicles raced backmost and distant on the Hamid Karzai International Airport's sole runway connected the bluish subject broadside of the airfield. Before dawn broke, heavy equipped Taliban fighters walked done hangars connected the subject side, passing immoderate of the 7 CH-46 helicopters the State Department utilized successful its evacuations earlier rendering them unflyable.
Taliban leaders aboriginal symbolically walked crossed the runway, marking their victory.
“The satellite should person learned their acquisition and this is the enjoyable infinitesimal of victory," Taliban spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid said successful a livestream posted by a militant.
The airdrome had seen chaotic scenes since the Taliban blitzed crossed Afghanistan and took Kabul connected Aug. 15. Thousands of Afghans besieged the airport, immoderate falling to their decease aft desperately hanging onto the broadside of an American C-17 subject cargo jet. Last week, an Islamic State termination onslaught astatine an airdrome gross killed astatine slightest 169 Afghans and 13 U.S. work members.
But connected Tuesday, aft a nighttime that saw Taliban fighters occurrence triumphantly into the air, guards present blearily connected work kept retired the funny and those inactive someway hoping to drawback a formation out.
“After 20 years we person defeated the Americans," said Mohammad Islam, a Taliban defender astatine the airdrome from Logar state cradling a Kalashnikov rifle. “They person near and present our state is free.”
He added: “It’s wide what we want. We privation Shariah (Islamic law), bid and stability.”
Mohammad Naeem, a spokesperson for the Taliban's governmental bureau successful Qatar, likewise praised the takeover successful an online video aboriginal Tuesday.
“Thank God each the occupiers person near our state completely," helium said, congratulating fighters by referring to them arsenic mujahedeen, oregon beatified warriors. “This triumph was fixed to america by God. It was owed to 20 years of sacrifice by the mujahedeen and its leaders. Many mujahedeen sacrificed their lives.”
Zalmay Khalilzad, the U.S. peculiar typical who oversaw America’s talks with the Taliban, wrote connected Twitter that “Afghans look a infinitesimal of determination & opportunity” aft the withdrawal.
“Their country’s aboriginal is successful their hands. They volition take their way successful afloat sovereignty,” helium wrote. “This is the accidental to bring their warfare to an extremity arsenic well.”
But the Taliban look what could beryllium a bid of large crises arsenic they afloat instrumentality implicit the country's government. The bulk of the billions of dollars Afghanistan holds successful overseas reserves is present frozen successful America, pressuring its now-depreciating Afghani currency. Banks person implemented withdrawal controls, fearing runs connected their deposits successful the uncertainty. Civil servants crossed the state accidental they haven't received their wage successful months.
Medical instrumentality remains successful abbreviated supply, portion thousands who fled the Taliban's beforehand stay surviving successful squalid conditions. A large drought besides has chopped into the country's nutrient supplies, making its imports adjacent much important and raising the hazard of radical going hungry.
During the evacuation, U.S. forces helped evacuate implicit 120,000 U.S. citizens, foreigners and Afghans, according to the White House, making it the largest airlift successful the past of the American military. Coalition forces besides evacuated their citizens and Afghans. But for each who got out, overseas nations and the U.S. acknowledged they didn't evacuate each who wanted to go.
At the airport's eastbound gate, a fistful of Afghans inactive tried their luck to get in, hoping for immoderate flight. As of now, however, commercialized airlines aren't flying into the airdrome and it remains unclear who volition instrumentality implicit managing the country's airspace. On their mode out, the U.S. subject warned pilots the airdrome was “uncontrolled” and “no aerial postulation power oregon airdrome work are available."
Several of those trying to travel into the airdrome came from Kandahar province, the Taliban heartland successful confederate Afghanistan that saw immoderate of the war's fiercest fighting. One of the men, Hekmatullah, who similar galore Afghans goes by 1 name, carried paperwork helium said showed helium worked arsenic a translator.
Hekmatullah said helium had waited 4 days for an accidental to leave.
“But present I don’t cognize what chances I have,” helium said.
Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell successful Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.